3D Printing News Briefs, July 13, 2023: Tungsten Powder, Car Interior Design, & More


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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’ll tell you about the awards a 3D printing company won, a partnership for tungsten powder, 3D printed interior car design, and 3D printed tiles. Plus, the US Air Force is saving money with plastic 3D printing.

3DEO Wins Big at PowderMet & AMPM2023

Image courtesy of 3DEO’s Director of Application Engineering & Design Jonathan Kolodner via LinkedIn.

At the recent PowderMet & AMPM2023 show in Las Vegas, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), California-based design, engineering, and metal 3D printing firm 3DEO won two major honors at the 2023 Design Excellence Awards for its outstanding powder metallurgy applications. First, it won the Grand Prize for Medical/Dental Application, and also received an Award of Distinction for the Hardware/Appliance Category; I actually saw this application with my own eyes at RAPID 2023. Additionally, 3DEO’s Mahmood Shirooyeh, Senior Materials Scientist, and Midhun Gopakumar, Lead Mechanical Engineer, presented research papers at the conference. Shirooyeh presented on using 3DEO’s Intelligent Layering technology to 3D print copper parts, while Gopakumar’s paper outlined a proprietary test method for determining the best delivery design for repeatable, uniform binder distribution. These awards, and research presentations, clearly show that 3DEO is committed to offering its customers the most advanced solutions.

“It’s a great honor for us to be recognized by such a prestigious body. This achievement is a testament to the tireless work and innovative mindset of our talented team. We’re continually pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with our technology, and these awards underscore our commitment to innovation and excellence,” said Matt Petros, CEO and Co-Founder of 3DEO.

6K Additive’s Tungsten Powder Qualified for Wayland Additive’s NeuBeam

6K Additive’s UniMelt produced tungsten powder was used to create this intricate lattice structure on Wayland Additive’s NeuBeam-enabled Caliber3 AM platform

Sustainable AM material leader 6K Additive, a division of 6K Inc., announced that its tungsten powder, sustainably produced using its UniMelt production-scale microwave plasma process, has been qualified for processing by Wayland Additive for its NeuBeam metal AM technology. The proprietary UniMelt technology spheroidizes metal powders while also controlling the porosity and chemistry of the final product, enabling the manufacturing of metal powders that are normally hard to produce, like tungsten, rhenium, and tantalum refractories. Plus, it offers yields of greater than 90% and can use scrap and revert as feedstock, which makes the process much more sustainable. Tungsten has exceptional hardness and excellent thermal conductivity, but its extremely high melting point of 3,422°C makes it difficult to process. By combining 6K Additive’s tungsten powder with Wayland Additive’s electron beam powder bed fusion (PBF) process, which can produce fully dense parts and neutralize the charge accumulation generated by the electron beam, the two can address applications for high-strength, heat-resistant parts in the aerospace, hypersonic, and nuclear sectors.

“Wayland Additive has removed the barriers associated with traditional e-beam technologies with our NeuBeam process, allowing a wider range of metals and alloys to be additively processed. 6K Additive can produce these hard-to-process materials at scale, ready for use in the NeuBeam enabled Calibur3 system,” said Will Richardson, CEO of Wayland Additive. “We are particularly excited about the opportunities we are uncovering here in the UK for nuclear applications which require the material properties of tungsten.”

Peugeot Using Stratasys 3DFashion for Car Interior Design

Peugeot turned to Stratasys to meet its need to 3D print directly onto flexible velvet material.

Global automotive manufacturer Peugeot, a brand owned by the Stellantis Group, has integrated 3DFashion technology by Stratasys to make the interior of its new Inception concept car. The Inception embodies the brand’s vision for future electric vehicles (EV), and its interior aligns perfectly with Peugeot’s new EV design architecture, with a minimalistic cockpit and advanced materials 3D printed on the Stratasys J850 TechStyle. The car’s main theme is the relationship between light and materials, and as such, the Inception’s seats are covered with a metallic shade of velvet that’s made from 100% recycled polyester, featuring “visually impactful” 3D printed patterns that allow it to play with the light. This velvet continues down to the floor space, offering a combination of aesthetics, functionality, and texture that other technologies could not create.

“Although we have access to relatively flat designs with current embellishment methods, it is not possible to build thickness and height. This is why we turned to Stratasys, and it is thanks to the company’s exclusive 3DFashion technology that we could 3D print directly onto the flexible material. Often, there is a delta between what we imagine and what we can obtain, so it was quite magical to see our idea arrive precisely as envisaged and with a remarkable quality of execution,” said Maud Rondot, CMF Designer, Advanced Design Team at Peugeot, the department responsible for the future vision of the Peugeot brand.

“Instead of covering the whole stretch of material, it was really advantageous that we could leave the velvet visible. 3D printing gave us the ability to modify and reprint the files very easily, but also important is its durability and efficiency; indeed, as a technology it doesn’t require molds, which is revolutionary in terms of industrialization.”

Studio RAP Designed & 3D Printed New Delft Blue Ceramic Tiles

Dutch architectural design company Studio RAP combines computational design with innovative digital fabrication methods, like 3D printing, to improve the way people design, produce, manage, and build architecture. Based in Rotterdam, the team has been working for several months on an interesting project to help scale up 3D printing in architecture in the historic city of Delft. Now, Studio RAP has finally unveiled New Delft Blue, a gorgeous archway of 3,000 ceramic tiles that forms part of the PoortMeesters housing development. The archway, which covers concrete stairs, frames entrances to a courtyard garden and “reinterprets the world-famous decorative qualities and design vocabulary of Delft Blue porcelain.” Robotic arm 3D printers, computational design, and transparent blue artisanal glazing were used to fabricate the stunning tiles, each of which features totally unique leaf-like forms.

“Our team dedicated countless hours of hard work and passion to bring this project to life, and we couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished. Every single tile has been thoughtfully designed and created using state-of-the-art 3D ceramic printing technology by our amazing and committed team,” Studio RAP wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Solving a Costly F-35 Fighter Jet Problem with Plastic 3D Printing

Staff Sgt. Christopher O’Donnell (left) and Tech Sgt. Justin Platt pose with 3D printed data port covers they designed for the F-35, Hill Air Force Base, May 19, 2023. The Airmen work at Hill’s Air Force Repair Enhancement Program, where they design time- and money-saving solutions for technical problems across the service. (Air & Space Forces Magazine photo by David Roza)

Finally, Utah’s Hill Air Force Base chapter of the Air Force Repair Improvement Program (AFREP) has proved that the most expensive solution to a problem is not always the best one. They learned about an irritating problem on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 combat aircraft: a group of sensors in the stealth fighter’s nose collects important operations data, like atmospheric pressure, but the data port often breaks down. They’re so delicate that they must be covered when the jet is on the ground so they’re not damaged by moisture or dust. But, this protective cover is also delicate, with breakable pins and built-in rubber seals that can fail in high temperatures, and each one costs over $600. Technicians at AFREP shops around the country conduct homemade repairs, or design replacement parts, and the Hill AFB technicians came up with a simple, durable, plastic piece, featuring magnets and an O-ring, that fits perfectly over the sensors, with no mechanical parts. It adheres easily to both sides of the F-35’s nose no matter the weather, and can be fabricated for just $45, and in 22 hours, on the workshop’s 3D printer, which also allows for a variety of colors and even a particular unit’s squadron symbol to be added. The plastic 3D printed F-35 data port cover will likely save the U.S. Air Force millions.

“We’re the last line of defense to fix whatever we can and put it back into service so that the military does not have to purchase replacement equipment. In some instances, the equipment is so old that nobody makes it anymore, but it is still needed,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher O’Donnell, one of the maintainers at Hill AFB who came up with the 3D printed data port cover.

“You never know who’s going to walk in the door with something new. One day I’m designing something on the computer to 3D print, that afternoon I might be fixing an electrical board, and then later I’m working on something hydraulics-related.”

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